The other day I was talking to a guy who sits next to me in one of my classes. We were discussing the validity of skipping class when he began to tell me about a particular class he was taking. He said he hadn’t been going to the class for weeks because everything taught was stupid. Regardless of not attending, he still had an “A” in the class. However, despite his high performance on graded material, he was approached by the professor.
“What are we going to do about you and this class?” his instructor asked him. He said he was confused by the question because he was doing so well. That’s when the instructor told him that because he missed so much class time he might fail the class.
“But I have an ‘A’.” the student objected. The professor replied by basically saying he was an easy grader, so the student’s high performance didn’t count. Talk about a blanket sweep.
I felt like sharing this story because I think it accurately reveals a major flaw with the school system.
Class-time doesn’t equal proficiency. Indeed, many times classroom instruction is a huge waste of time. For example, my math lecture. Many students have stopped going to lecture all-together, including myself. Why? Because the lecture is completely worthless. It doesn’t address the difficulty level of what’s in the homework and on the exams. The professor, who lectures by working through example math problems, (which are displayed on a large screen) has handwriting that is barely legible. Many times he will also make blatant (and sometimes not so blatant) mistakes, which serves to confuse half the students and we have to back-track. Other-times he has accidentally sabotaged the software program. It then takes him several minutes to correct the error, a further waste of time.
Rather than attending this lecture, I’ve been better off using that time to study and figure out how to do the problems on my own. Apparently this is the case for my classmate who had an ‘A’ in his class despite not attending, and yet, now he may fail. I guess it’s not good enough merely to get good grades; you have to get the good grades their way.